Have you ever planned a wedding from long-distance? Have you planned two? Within two months of each other? If you are in the military, your answer might be yes to the first question. But, for me, the answer was a definite yes to all three!
My twin daughters, Illinois Girl and Mrs. Tech Sergeant got engaged within a month of each other and married within two months of each other. It must be a twin thing. Illinois Girl lived in Illinois. Mrs. Tech Sergeant lived in Alaska. One wedding was in Oklahoma, where we lived. The other was in Illinois. Let the games begin.
Technically, Mrs. Tech Sergeant had two weddings. This is not unusual in the military. To be included on Tech Sergeant’s orders so they could get a house on base and Mrs. Tech Sergeant could get other benefits like medical coverage and commissary privileges, she and Tech Sergeant tied the knot in January 2010 in a small ceremony in Illinois. The Good Chaplain presided over this one but said there was no way he would perform the significant rituals of both girls.
While in Illinois for her first wedding, the girls and I went dress shopping. I remembered how much fun I had with my own wedding gown shopping trip, and I wanted the girls to experience the same excitement of finding the right dress. So, we shopped at one local store and a chain store.
Mrs. Tech Sergeant found her dress at the locally owned store. Illinois Girl initially saw the dress but decided against it. I cried when I saw Mrs. Tech Sergeant in it. She looked like a princess.
There was a mix-up in our appointment times at the chain store, and the clerk said they could only take one of the girls. After explaining, forcefully, to the manager that we had two appointments, we had a confirmation of both appointments, and two of the three of us were from out of town and could not come back, they accommodated us. Illinois Girl found her gown at the chain store.
Weddings can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. My niece’s bar tab was more costly than the girls’ entire weddings! We tried to talk the girls into a double wedding since both would be inviting most of the same people, but no dice. So, we put them on a budget. We gave each girl a set amount. If they stayed below that amount, they could keep the difference. If they went over, they paid.
Mr. and Mrs. Tech Sergeant opted for a military wedding, saber arch and all, at the Tinker Air Force Base Chapel in Oklahoma and hold their reception at the Officers’ Club, saving a boatload of money. They came to Oklahoma briefly to plan the catering menu, find a cake and a photographer. The rest we planned from Alaska and Oklahoma.
The biggest obstacle was her wedding gown, which was in Illinois. We had the dress shipped to Oklahoma, but then I had to find a tailor who could alter it in short order. Mrs. Tech Sergeant wasn’t coming into town until the wedding week, and the dress had a lot of beading. The tailor fit her in and promised the dress would be ready by Friday. Unfortunately, when we went Friday for the final fitting, it was too small. The tailor claimed Mrs. Tech Sergeant gained weight since the first fitting on Monday. She did not. We needed to get to the rehearsal and dinner, so the tailor promised to work on it and call us when it was ready, which happened during the rehearsal dinner.
The wedding was beautiful, and everything worked out, despite some tense moments, and Mr. and Mrs. Tech Sergeant are happily married 11 years later with two wonderful sons, three Siberian huskies, and two cats.
Next week, part two of the wedding summer.
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